At 18 months old the mother, in our case Surya, started to encourage the cubs to find their own territory and start their own families.
Since then something wonderful has happened. Kuasa our male tiger cub has become a father himself. Last year he moved to Zoo de la Boissière du Doré’ close to Nantes in Western France as part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP).
He now has a Sumatran tigress daughter which was born on 13 January. She had her first vet examination on 23 March and she weights 8kg. She’ll soon be 10 times that weight when she is a full grown tigress in just a few years. Her mother is Suma from Tiergarten Heidelberg. The cub doesn’t have a name yet.
The European breeding programme is vital for the survival for this species as there are less than 350 Sumatran tigers left in the wild. Finding out that Kuasa has grown from a tiny cub to an adult and now a father is incredible. Though we will miss him, knowing that he and his sisters will play a part in the conservation of Sumatran tigers is incredibly rewarding and helps to reinforce the vital role of zoos.
Sadly tigers are under serious threat from poaching and habitat loss.
They are poached for their fur, skins and body parts which are used for display or medicine.
Tigers also face a plight from the illegal pet trade and live in poor conditions such as being chained up in a private collection. This highlights the importance of breeding populations within zoos. With enclosures designed to fit the tigers needs, dietary requirements and care it might give this hugely popular species a future.
We currently house Bawa the male and Surya the female here at Flamingo Land. If you wish to come and see them have their favourite lunch and learn all about them from a big cat keeper during your visit, then go to the two tiger enclosures at 1pm.